The Happiness Program, this is what we need. Today we are passing through such a crisis in our country. There is darkness everywhere and there is no hope. Prices are high and people are feeling insecure. Almost everybody, every country, every community feels insecure.
At this time what is needed is a wave of happiness, which would fill our hearts with new hope, and our minds with a new direction. And we are all ready for this change.
Are you ready for a change? (Loud chorus of 'Yes', from the audience)
We need to bring the happiness back in our society. And without knowledge, without wisdom, there cannot be happiness.
We all need a big change in our society, and change in our attitude. Not being complacent with injustice. Not being complacent with ignorance. But we need a change in our thought process, a change in our attitude, and a change in our society.
Today, addictions have really increased in our country. The sale of alcohol has increased three times. Kids are getting addicted to drugs, and there are suicides. Why all these ills? It is because of unhappiness. A happy person doesn’t go and disturb anybody, he only spreads happiness. It is the unhappy people who create more unhappiness in the society. So, now we need to bring the happiness back in our society. And without knowledge, without wisdom, there cannot be happiness.
It’s so nice to see around 12,000 of you have come all the way from Kerala. The joy and the commitment that you all have, the concern you have for our country, our society, is something that is most needed to be expressed fully, at this time. I am so happy that this wave of happiness has succeeded in Kerala – whatever starts in Kerala goes up to the Himalayas, and beyond that also.
Beyond the Himalayas we have China, and we have our Chinese friends also present here. And we have people from Pakistan, Gulf, Tamil Nadu, and North India. So this happiness needs to spread to Sri Lanka also, and we all have to work for it. Sri Lanka has suffered a lot.
So when your batteries are charged and you feel energetic, go back to your districts, your villages and work in villages to eliminate suffering, poverty, violence and corruption.
India is a place of talents. See, so many talented people are here. Do you know, when all 12,000 of you are singing here so wonderfully, just imagine the 6 crore of you (the population of the state Kerala) singing together. From every village we should get people to start singing and dancing, forgetting all their tensions and worries. We should get people to have a new vision for a better India. We need to work as volunteers for better India.
We got freedom from the sacrifice of many people; many of our ancestors. We need to preserve that. We are almost losing it. Do you know how freedom came to this country? Through satsangs! Mahatma Gandhi went district by district, state by state, and conducted big satsangs. And in these satsangs, when the people started singing, 'Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram', everybody joined together. They started singing, 'Vande Mataram'. A huge spirit came up in the country, and that brought us freedom. We have forgotten this. We have forgotten that we are a spiritual country.
There is a saying in Sanskrit, 'Kavya Shastra Vinodena Kalo Gacchati Dheematam'.
It means, an intelligent person spends his time in knowledge, music, literature, science, and in bringing people together. But the foolish always enjoy spending their time indulging in addictions (vyasanam), altercations and fights.
So we have so many intelligent people here. You know, only intelligent people can become spiritual. I tell you, people with less intelligence don’t come to spirituality.
This is the criteria – who is an intelligent person? One who has a little bit of spirituality. If they don’t have that, then there’s something wrong. They are like a horse with blinders. They don’t have the broad vision. They don’t see their life. They don’t know who they are.
Spirituality is the field where reform can happen. The criminals also can be reformed because inside every human being there is beauty, and there is joy. We just need to invoke that and that inner wealth comes up. Then people forget all the wrong tendencies; they simply leave them.
Do you know, the place just opposite to this ashram belongs to Kerala’s Narayana Guru Ashram. When we first came here, there was a board saying, 'Narayana Guru Ashram'. I don’t know what has happened there, somebody else has taken over now. So we are just opposite to Narayana Guru Ashram here.
Narayana Guru has done a lot of human service, and has brought a lot of people together. This is the same message The Art of Living is taking all over the world.
That spirit has to be rekindled in Kerala. We have to keep it alive. Kerala is called God’s own country. So we need to bring that spirit back into our society. I am sure we will do many happiness programs (Art of Living Part 1 Course) with so many enthusiastic youngsters, both in spirit and age!
Once I was in Pune and there were many politicians on the stage. People asked me, 'Why are these corrupt people around you, Gurudev'.
I said, 'Send all the corrupt people to me, I want to sit with them. Let us see, if they don’t get reformed here'.
If they don't get reformed here then where else will they get reformed. If you open a hospital and say that there is no entry for sick people, it doesn’t make any sense!
Spirituality is the field where reform can happen. The criminals also can be reformed because inside every human being there is beauty, and there is joy. We just need to invoke that. Once it is invoked then the inner wealth comes up. Then any wrong tendencies in people will simply leave them.
Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita, 'Api cet su-duracaro bhajate mam ananya-bhak. Sadhur eva sa mantavyah, samyag vyavasito hi sah'.
However fallen someone is, the moment he comes to the knowledge, comes to meditate and becomes spiritual, you should forgive them and forget their mischief because they will start walking on the right path and the right knowledge.
We have this knowledge and this wisdom to transform the society. So we don’t accuse anybody. We are not angry at anybody. But we are compassionate with everyone.
When you find some injustice, what happens? Anger comes. And when you’re angry, you’re not able to do what you want to do because anger takes away a lot of your energy. But if you channel that anger towards creativity, and with compassion, you can change any situation, and that wisdom. That power you all have. And that is where spirituality, or the inner strength that you gain through meditation comes into play.
Do you know why Krishna had a feather on his crown? You know the crown of a King is always very heavy. So, people who have a crown are not very happy. But the peacock feather indicates lightness. It signifies one who takes all the responsibility, but the responsibility is so light, and colorful. You’re not bogged down by the weight of responsibility.
When you have wisdom, your crown will be feather-light! It means you are able to take responsibility without a sense of burden. So, we have the responsibility for the nation and this responsibility we are going to shoulder without getting bogged down!
You know, if you lose your joy and your enthusiasm, you can’t do anything. First and foremost, you have to have the fire. You have to have enthusiasm and joy. With this joy you can achieve so much in society.